“The Best Advice on Diet and Cancer”
In 1982, a landmark report on diet, nutrition, and cancer
was released by the National Academy of Sciences, the first major,
institutional, science-based report on the topic.
The report started out saying that, yes,
scientists must be careful in their choice of words
whenever they are not totally confident about their conclusions.
But, for example, by that time it had become absolutely clear
that cigarettes were killing people.
But had the population been persuaded to stop smoking
when the association between lung cancer was first reported,
these cancer deaths would not now have been occurring.
If you wait for absolute certainty,
millions of people could die in the meanwhile.
That’s why sometimes you have to invoke the precautionary principle.
For example, emphasizing fruits and vegetables may reduce
the risk of several common forms of cancer.
We’re not completely sure, but there’s good evidence,
and what’s the downside of eating more fruits and vegetables?
So why not give it a try?
The 1982 National Academy of Sciences report continued.
the public is now asking about the causes of cancers
that are not associated with smoking.
What are these causes and how can these cancers be avoided?
Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to make firm scientific pronouncements
about the association between diet and cancer.
We’re in that interim stage of knowledge similar to
that for cigarettes 20 years ago.
Therefore, in the judgment of the committee,
it is now the time to offer some interim guidelines on diet and cancer.
For example, they raised concern about processed meats.
And 30 years later, it was confirmed,
processed meat was officially declared carcinogenic in humans.
Maybe if we would have listened back then,
maybe we would have been spared Lunchables,
which if taken apart, a CEO of Philip Morris describes reading,
“the most healthy item in it is the napkin.”
The findings of this diet and cancer report generated
a striking level of disbelief from the cancer community,
and outright hostility from people and the industries
whose livelihood depended on the foods being questioned,
to the point of accusing one of the authors of the report of killing people,
with formally organized petitions to expel the researchers
from their professional societies,
clearly a very sensitive nerve was touched.
The American Meat Science Association
and other members of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology
criticized the report.
Yeah, maybe it would save lives,
but the recommended reductions in meat consumption
would sharply reduce incomes to the livestock and meat processing industries.
The fruit and vegetable industries would clearly benefit
if consumers were to implement the guidelines.
However, fruits and vegetables account for less than 15 percent of cash receipts.
大部分的钱都花在牛肉 猪肉 禽类
Most of the money is in cattle, hogs, poultry products,
feed grains, and oil crops.
That reminds me of the tobacco industry memos
where Philip Morris spoke of the tobacco industry going bankrupt.
Maybe it’s not the meat that’s causing cancer,
the industry critique continued,
but all the marijuana people are smoking these days.
How can one argue that such an abundant diet causes cancer?
Maybe you’re all just jealous of all the good food we’re eating,
like the Puritans that condemned bear baiting,
not because of the pain for the bear
but because of the pleasure of the spectators.
You can’t tell us to cut down on meat,
“one of mankind’s few remaining pleasures is that of the table.”
The day the National Academy ofSciences report was published was
“The Day That Food Was Declared a Poison,” declared Thomas Jukes,
the guy who discovered you could speed up
the growth of chickens by feeding them antibiotics.
How dare the National Academy of Sciences recommend
people eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily,
which were said to contain as yet unidentified compounds
that may protect us against certain cancers.
How can one select foods that contain unidentified compounds?
This is not a scientific recommendation;
it sounds like ‘health food store’ literature.”
My favorite though was think about the human breast.
How can animal fat be bad for us
if breast feeding women create so much of it?
Though women are animals; their mammary glands make fat for breast milk.
因此 我们不应该少吃汉堡吧 嗯？
Therefore, we shouldn’t have to cut down on burgers. Huh?
So anyway, what does the latest science tell us about nutrition and cancer?
What are the other five recommendations?
We talked about eating more fruits and vegetables.
Consumption of soy products may not only
reduce the risk of getting breast cancer
but also surviving it.
And then in terms of dietary guidance suggestions on foods
to cut down on where evidence is sufficiently compelling include
limiting or avoiding dairy products to reduce the risk of prostate cancer,
limiting or avoiding alcohol to reduce the risk of cancers
以减少患口腔癌 喉癌 食道癌 结肠癌 直肠癌和乳腺癌的风险
of the mouth, throat, esophagus,colon, rectum, and breast,
avoiding red and processed meatto reduce the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum,
and avoiding grilled, fried, and broiled meats to reduce
患结肠癌 直肠癌 乳腺癌 前列腺癌 肾癌和胰腺癌的风险
the risk of cancers of the colon, rectum, breast, prostate, kidney, and pancreas.
And in this context, they’re talking about all meat including poultry and fish.
Look, we all have to make dietary decisions every day.
We can’t wait for the evolution of scientific consensus,
until we know more to protect ourselves and our families,
All we can do is act on the best available evidence we have right now.